If the first quarter of 2021 is a sign of things to come, it’s going to be a great year for Universal Robots (UR). The leading developer of collaborative robotic arms earned $66 million in Q1 revenue, which is up 32% year-over-year and 15% over Q1 2019.
UR’s Q1 2020 sales were heavily impacted by the global slowdown in manufacturing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. UR’s overall 2020 sales dipped 12% to $219 million, so it’s off to a great start here in 2021.
Teradyne owns Universal Robots. Teradyne’s robotics portfolio also includes AutoGuide Mobile Robots, Energid and Mobile Industrial Robots. Teradyne saw its industrial automation group earn $80 million in Q1 revenue. This represents a 33% increase year-over-year and 21% over Q1 2019.
Teradyne said Q1 2021 revenue was a record for the “seasonally soft” first quarter of the year.
According to Teradyne’s earnings call, UR experienced “a notable recovery in China where sales more than doubled in the quarter. Our China performance reflects the compelling value proposition UR offers, even in the face of low-cost competitors.”
Teradyne said UR is seeing growth outside of the traditional manufacturing tasks. Specifically, it has sold 500-plus cobots to perform maintenance of high-power transmission lines while energized and robotic inspection of wind turbine blades.
Sanjay Mehta, VP & CFO at Teradyne, said the U.S. and Europe represented over 70% of the industrial automation group’s revenue in the first quarter. He said the group revenue in China more than doubled year-over-year and grew greater than 50% over Q1 2019.
Mehta added that demand for UR continues to improve as the global economy recovers and companies work to add production capacity.
“The opportunity of automation is growing,” Mehta said. “Our IA portfolio is solving problems for companies such as improving economics with a typical ROI of approximately one year, addressing labor shortages experienced by manufacturing and warehousing firms and adding supply chain resilience over the long-term.
“From a financial perspective in IA, we continue to lean into engineering, ecosystem and distribution investments to expand the range of applications in IA products – our IA products address and extend our global distribution reach.”
Greg Smith, president of Teradyne’s industrial automation group, was a recent guest on The Robot Report Podcast. He took us inside the goals and strategy of building Teradyne’s automation portfolio and what Teradyne is looking for in other industrial automation acquisitions.